Iraq: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (May 2020)

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In May 2020, humanitarian partners reported 65 access incidents across 21 districts, with approximately 63 per cent of incidents reported within Al Anbar Governorate—a significant increase from previous months. Most incidents, (95 per cent) constituted administrative restrictions on humanitarian activities and movements. The extent of bureaucratic impediments faced by humanitarian partners is not fully reflected by the incidents captured in this snapshot.

Most of the access incidents were due to a combination of the COVID-19 containment measures, along with preexisting administrative restrictions on humanitarian activities. The COVID-19 containment measures, including curfews and movement restrictions, were implemented by the Federal Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) throughout the month. Although curfew exemptions for humanitarian partners were granted in most governorates, restrictions on inter-governorate movement significantly impeded humanitarian operations, as many organizations operate out of Erbil or Baghdad, and must be able to cross governorate borders. In May, roughly 80 per cent of reported access incidents were for COVID-19 related response activities. It is estimated that more than 156,000 people in need were directly affected by access-related incidents reported during the month.

Humanitarian organisations have also continued to experience significant restrictions on their ability to operate in Federal Iraq since the end of November 2019, when the Federal government suspended the national-level access authorization letters for non-government organisations (NGOs); the national government is working to establish a new national mechanism for access authorization for NGO implementing partners of the UN.

To improve the accuracy of the representation of access challenges in Iraq, humanitarian organizations are encouraged to report all incident details to OCHA sub-offices.

Methodology: This snapshot is based on humanitarian partners'reports of access-related incidents and issues during a one-month period. Although the access snapshot indicates wider access dynamics encountered in central and northern governorates of Iraq, the snapshot does not present a comprehensive view of all access challenges, as access incidents are under-reported, and the snapshot only covers areas where organisations have been able to maintain a sustained humanitarian presence.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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